It's been a while since my last blog, and a lot has happened since round 1 at Silverstone, but I'll do my best to keep it short and stick to the important stuff! :)
Round 2, at Oulton Park, was frustrating again like round 1. The testing we had planned in between did not work out quite as hoped, as it snowed (yes, really!) while I was at Cadwell Park, and I ended up not even unpacking the van. A couple days prior at Oulton, we did have 4 dry sessions! However considering the speed difference with the Superbike boys, I was placed in the 600 group, which lead to me picking up the wrong lines and getting a little culture shock in Q1 with Superstock 1000 at the race weekend.
However I improved a lot between Q1 and the warmup session 2 days later, so remained positive while driving home with the Team ILR ZX10 in the back. What followed were 2 near perfect days at Assen. Regular track days, but luckily the fast group wasn't very busy, and we didn't have a single drop of rain. After getting familiar with the track for 2 sessions, I started working on my riding style. Hammering on braking later and harder, and slowing down a bit more mid corner, allowing me to get on the power earlier.
It was a tough but very fun couple of days, playing on old tires in the heat and wind, not a care in the world! And it most certainly paid off, I felt a lot more comfortable and confident heading into round 3 at Brands Hatch, which showed straight away in free practice.
With me now riding the bike as I was supposed to, I was able to work closer with the team on bike setup. Throughout practice and qualifying we made some steps in the right direction, it was a lot of fun feeling the adjustments make a positive difference. I once again kept getting closer to the front of the field, but the biggest thing for me was now properly fitting in with the rest of the stock 1000 riders. I obviously have a long way to go still, however made great strides in my riding style, and can follow and learn from every rider who passes me.
The weekend after Brands Indy, it was time for the Ducati Clubraces. Last season they started a Ladies Cup, which this year was open for bikes of all makes. A perfect opportunity to grab some extra tracktime, and show my face at one of the biggest racing events at Assen!
I quite enjoyed riding my 4 cylinder Kawasaki in between all of the 2 cylinder Ducatis, even though I did catch a few awkward looks in the paddock! ;) In qualifying my goal was top 5 overall, which I sadly missed out on by .070 of a second, due to being hindered by a slower rider on my best lap. Nonetheless, a new PR and 6th fastest out of 250+ riders is not too shabby! Q2 for our group saw a drying track, with wet spots in interesting places, meaning I got to showcase the iffy condition riding skills I've obtained in BSB. I had a great feeling with my ZX10, and ended up second fastest!
Race day was great, the Ladies Cup wasn't scheduled to start until 14:40, and in the morning I was able to hijack a table outside of the Lincoln Electric pitbox. Always love chatting with race fans of all ages, and hopefully gaining some new followers! Come race time, even though my gap over P2 in qualifying was 6.3 seconds, I was quite nervous. Having never been in complete control of a race, it was an interesting new experience. I botched the start, but was back in the lead 3 corners later, and won the race with a 28 second gap over P2. Can't stress enough what a well organised and super fun weekend this was!
With a multiple week gap between now and the next round of BSB at Knockhill, I'm taking full advantage with minimal travel, resting up from a lingering flu, seeing a couple bands, and getting back on a regular (training) schedule. Still, Knockhill is one of my favourite tracks, and the race can't come soon enough!